The town of Argentia in Newfoundland, Canada, is, according to both the Guinness Book of World Records and my own personal experience, the foggiest place on earth. Here, the cold Labrador current from the north meets with the warmer Gulf Stream air from the south, creating over 200 foggy days a year. Very often the town, once the site of a US Naval Air Station commissioned during WWII, would be fogbound for days.
I’ve lived in Argentia for a little over a year, after relocating because of my job. Every weekday at 7 a.m. sharp, sees me driving to work. I have to leave early to ensure I don’t get held up by the fog. It’s not foggy every day, but when it is, the drive to work can slow to a snail’s pace. During the spring and summer especially, it’s not uncommon for me to be unable to see more than ten feet in front of me. You’d think that it would bother me, but it doesn’t. I actually find it quite soothing at times. I’m a very careful driver anyway, and the all-encompassing fog often made me feel as if I were driving on an endless highway, with no particular place to be. I can’t deny that I sometimes felt homesick, but it wasn’t such a bad place to live, and, as I say, the fog always felt somehow comforting. You’ll notice that I am talking about my feelings concerning the fog in the past tense. That’s because I no longer see the fog as comforting. The events of one night last week changed all that.
It was Monday last week when everything changed. My girlfriend, Hannah, and I were at home, watching old seasons of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, when I became aware of a slight ringing in the air. At first, it filtered in ever so slightly that I thought it could be on the TV, but as the show flicked to a quiet scene, I realised that there was indeed a ringing. It sounded like a phone.
“Do you have your phone on you, babe?” I asked, as I took my phone out of my pocket to check that it wasn’t mine.
“No,” she replied, not really taking her eyes off the TV, “it’s plugged in in the bedroom. Why?”
“It sounds like it’s ringing,” I said, “I won’t be a sec.” And with that I got up and went to our bedroom on the first floor.
Upon entering the room, I saw that her phone was indeed plugged in. It lay on the dresser, the green battery sign lighting up on the screen to indicate it was fully charged. That was the only sign of life it showed, however. It definitely wasn’t ringing. I unplugged it and went back downstairs.
“Who was it?” Hannah asked as I handed her the phone.
“No one. It wasn’t ringing.” I replied.
Turning down the volume on the TV, she listened with me.
“The noise is coming from outside.” she said.
“Yeah, it sounds like it is,” I said, quietly, listening to the incessant ringing, “I’m just going to go out and take a look.”
She grabbed my arm. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“Don’t worry,” I smiled, “I’ll be fine. I’ll take the torch. I just need to make sure no one’s out there.”
I walked into the kitchen and switched on the porch light. A bright pool of yellow light flooded the back yard. Peering out through the kitchen window, I could still hear the ringing, but the fog was so thick that I could only just make out the line of trees which bordered our yard some ten feet away. I grabbed the torch from the kitchen drawer, checked to make sure it worked, and then opened the back door. Tendrils of fog crept inside as I stepped out, closing the door behind me.
One tentative step at a time, shining the torch this way and that, I moved steadily towards the ringing sound. I stopped when I came to the line of trees. The ringing was coming from beyond them, somewhere in the woods. Thinking that perhaps someone may have been trekking in the woods and had fallen, perhaps getting caught out by the rapidly descending fog, I took a deep breath and headed beyond the trees and into the woods. I had gone perhaps 500 meters, the ringing getting ever louder, until I saw a small light emanating from something just a few feet in front of me.
Stepping forward, I bent down to pick it up. It was indeed a phone, but it was an old one. One of those flip-out Motorola ones that were so popular back in 2000. I flipped open the phone to see the screen. It lit up instantly, the words “Private Number” flashing intermittently. Strangely, however, in the top right-hand corner of the screen was a sign saying “No signal”. How could the phone be ringing if there was no signal?
Tentatively, my heart racing and every fiber of my being telling me that something definitely wasn’t right here, I pressed the button to answer the phone.
“Hello?” I said, placing the phone against my ear.
I couldn’t hear anything, save for some faint static.
“Hello?” I said again.
To hell with this I thought to myself. Some bozo lost their phone in the woods, there’s no signal and here I am trying to answer the damned thing. I made to hang up the phone when suddenly I heard something coming from the phone. It wasn’t a voice, or rather it was a voice, but it sounded like a voice coming from a TV. Not only that, but I recognised immediately what it was. It was the episode of Grey’s Anatomy that we had been watching just before I left the house.
“Who is this?” I demanded, my internal pendulum swinging from fear to rising annoyance. I then heard sobbing, followed by Hannah’s voice.
“P-p-p-please h-h-h-elp m-me.”
Keeping hold of the phone, I turned to run back towards the house, and that’s when I saw it. Through the fog, between my house and I, loomed a shadowy figure. It appeared to be human, though its arms were slightly too long, its head slightly too large. I turned my torch on it, but as soon as the beam of light approached the silhouette, it had vanished. Panic filled my very core. I looked all around me, shining the torchlight in all directions. Suddenly, there it was again, slightly further away from me this time and to the left of where I found the phone. Then came Hannah’s voice, echoing through the receiver.
Without hesitating a moment longer, I ran back as fast as I could in the direction of the house. As I ran, I was aware of the figure running parallel with me, albeit some distance away. I ran and ran until I finally made it back into the back yard. As I exited the line of trees, I saw the same shadowy figure run along the side of the house. I ran across the yard, bursting in through the back door, shouting “Hannah?!” as I did so.
Immediately, she came hurrying through into the kitchen.
“What is it?” she asked, “What’s going on?”
“Where is he? Where did he go? Did he hurt you?” The questions came out in a blur.
A look of confusion ran across her face as she said, “What are you talking about? I’ve been sitting in here waiting for you to come back! You’ve been ages!”
Instantly, I felt the colour drain from my face. I live a normal, everyday, humdrum life and this level of fear was like nothing I had ever felt before. Hannah stepped towards me and touched my arm. “What’s going on, babe?” she asked, softly.
Before I could respond, I heard her voice come laughing through the still open phone, her sweet tones getting deeper and more demonic with each chuckle.
“What the hell is that?!” she cried.
“I-I found this phone in the woods. It was ringing. I answered it and I heard you crying and telling me to come back. But it wasn’t you. That’s not you!”
The demonic laugh came through the phone once more, only this time it no longer sounded like Hannah. It sounded like me.
“Watch out honey. There’s someone in the woods. Don’t let anyone in till I get back.”
We both stood there, puzzled, wide-eyed, staring at the phone, until it started laughing again. The laughing became louder and more evil, until it was seeping through every speaker in the house. The TV, the radio, the MP3 and Bluetooth speakers, all resounded with the same demonic laugh. We covered our ears, and yet somehow the laughing seeped through to haunt our minds.
I grabbed Hannah’s arm and ran with her to the bedroom. I opened the closet door and pushed her inside. “Stay there. I’ll be back.” I shouted.
“But…” she began to protest.
“No buts! Just stay there.” And with that I closed the door.
The laughing was almost deafening as I headed back through the kitchen, this time going through into the utility room, and from there into the garage. I grabbed a hammer off the shelf, took it and the phone back into the kitchen and smashed the phone to pieces on the kitchen worktop. With the final blow of the hammer, the laughing stopped, the clamorous chuckling replaced by an almost deafening silence.
As I laid the hammer down onto the worktop, I glanced out through the kitchen window. There, just behind the line of trees, hovering between that No Man’s Land of clarity and fog, I saw the figure once more. Though it made no movement, I could feel it trying to enter my mind, calling to me to come outside. I grabbed the hammer once more, and then went around the house, making sure that all the windows and doors were locked and secured. I then went into our bedroom and joined Hannah in the closet. I could still feel the man, being, entity, whatever the hell it was, calling to me. Hannah said she could feel it too. We clung on to each other and tried to wait it out until dawn.
At some point, we must have fallen asleep, for as I opened my eyes, I became aware of the silence. The calling had gone. All was eerily quiet. Slowly pushing open the closet door, I peered outside, Hannah clinging onto my arm as I did so. There was light in the room, but it wasn’t sunlight. It was a pale, watered down daylight. Together, Hannah and I crossed the room and, going over to the window, peered out. The fog was thicker than ever. We could barely see the back yard, but we could see them. Dozens of out-of-proportion figures, just like the one last night, completely surrounding the house. Simultaneously, we both realised that waiting wasn’t going to help. We had to escape.
“We get to the garage, get in the truck, and get the hell out of here.” I said to Hannah, taking her face in my hands. All she could do was nod her head in agreement. Together, we ran downstairs into the kitchen, through the utility room and into the garage. We got into my truck and I started the engine. As I did so, a thought popped into my mind. I remembered last night, when I first saw the figure. It disappeared when I turned my torchlight onto it. Perhaps they couldn’t stand light? Perhaps that’s why they lurked in the cover of the fog?
It was worth a shot. I turned on the truck’s headlights and flicked them to high beam. And then I opened the garage door.
The fog flooded in like water. I wasn’t waiting to see how the figures would react to the light. I put the truck into drive and floored the pedal. Speeding out through the fog, I saw the figures disappearing in the light, only to reappear again where the fog covered them. I drove as fast as I could for as long as I could. The normal, soothing feeling that I got while driving in the fog was swept away with fear and anxiety the further we went. Every once in a while, we would hear a slight chuckle come through the truck’s speakers.
I had a full tank of fuel, as I had filled up on my way home from work the evening before. We drove and drove until the fuel gauge began blinking that it was on empty. The fog still surrounded us. Throughout our drive we hadn’t encountered any other vehicles, animals or people. Just the fog and shadowy entities that lurked therein.
Just before our truck completely died, we saw a motel looming large at the side of the road. It stood, like an oasis in the desert of fog, its forecourt flooded with light. Although the fog lurked along its edges, it did not encroach into the light. I swerved the truck into forecourt and pulled up at the main doors just as the engine died. Getting out of the truck, we peered out beyond the forecourt lights, happy to be safe for now, but knowing that we couldn’t stay here forever. Moreover, we wondered just what they were, those entities that lurked beyond the fog.
Copyright © 2019 Whispers Amongst The Corn